Well everyone, you read it right I’m headed to California. As in New California, here in Plain City, Ohio.
Just kidding :) I have served for just about 18 months here in The Great Ohio Columbus Mission and my time has come to an end. But I am not sad because I am satisfied (and extremely tired) and I know that the Lord is satisfied with the work I have done on His behalf. I have met so many wonderful people who I have had the opportunity to teach and see change their lives, and some that I have only met once. They have all impacted me in one way or another, and most importantly have helped me build my testimony. Recently President Stratford told me that when I step off that plane the only thing my friends and family will recognize about me is my face. And he is absolutely right. I have become a new person through Christ, through having to rely on Him through trials and struggles, seeing others change their lives and find joy, and recognizing that everything good I could possibly have comes from Him. I want you to know that I know that my Redeemer lives, that He loves me and each one of us. He has a perfect plan that allows us to have a fullness of joy, and if we follow the path He has so carefully set for us we can experience that now. Yes, in the midst of a world of sorrow and confusion I promise that we can have joy through Christ. His path is definitely not the easiest, nor does it always look most desirable, but it is the only way that we can have true and everlasting hope and peace. I have seen this for myself, and I am excited to continue on that path He has helped me find while serving as His missionary. Because of my service and what I have learned, I will never stop being a disciple of Jesus Christ.
This is only a portion of my testimony and I can't possibly put everything I feel into words. I would echo Ammon when He says, "Therefore, let us glory, yea, we will glory in the Lord; yea, we will rejoice, for our joy is full; yea, we will praise our God forever. Behold, who can glory too much in the Lord? Yea, who can say too much of his great power, and of his mercy, and of his long-suffering towards the children of men? Behold, I say unto you, I cannot say the smallest part which I feel." (Alma 26:16)
I do rejoice that I have gained an undeniable testimony of my Savior, His redeeming power, His mercy and patience with me as I try to figure life out. I cannot tell you the smallest part of the blessings and miracles I have seen while serving as an instrument in His hands and I intend to do so for as long as I live.
If you need more joy in your life, more hope, direction or purpose, I invite you to make the necessary changes in your life to come closer to Christ. Talk to a missionary from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, they are anxiously wanting to help others have the tools they need to build their relationship with Christ. I promise you it will not be easy, but nothing of consequence in this life comes easy. But I do promise that Christ is not just a way, but He is the only way, the truth and the life that can bring you true joy.
I love you all so much. See you real soon, and just keep smiling!